Ouch! My first accident

Discussion in 'Sportives' started by rayw1604, 25 Apr 2010.

  1. rayw1604

    rayw1604 Senior Member

    Cheltenham, Glos
    Having upgraded from a clunky old Orbit Orion bike and treated myself to a Ridgeback Horizon which arrived last week, I was throroughly enjoying the new experience - the Horizon is so light and responsive by comparison, and the power I felt in my legs was something to behold, plus I love the STI gears which are new to me. However, another novelty for me is the brakes on the drop bars, I cannot get enough leverage or grip on them and have trouble stopping or slowing down at a fast enough rate - hence I came a cropper this morning :biggrin: ...

    I was riding through the Cotswolds from Andoversford north to Winchcombe, eating up the hills and really enjoying it. The descent to Winchcombe is long and steep and I thought I was in control until near the bottom when I found I would not be able to brake fast enough at a junction. Heading relentlessly and very fast towards the opposite embankment, I subconsciously made the decision (or it may have happened anyway) to come down on my left side, which I did with the result that I slid at a great rate along some freshly gravelled road surface. I don't really remember the details at all, but there was a nasty large graze/gash on my left elbow and various cuts elsewhere. My ribs over my heart hurt like hell too. Miraculously, however, I didn't hit my head (helmeted) on anything. I was extremely fortunate in that a chap in a camper van (I only know him as Bob) stopped and took me and bike on board and home to Cheltenham. The only effect I could see on the bike was that the chain had come off, which I rectified when I got home. Having put the bike safely away, it was only then that a delayed reaction of pain and ache set in, although I had felt very dazed and shaky. And it was only when I took my shorts off (new last week too, and already holed in parts ) that I discovered a huge swelling like a melon on the top of my left thigh, which was really hard and tender to the touch.

    My wife and I decided eventually that I needed to get things checked out, so I went to A&E and spent an enthralling Sunday afternoon waiting around, having X rays and getting my deep and very dirty and weeping grazes treated. Nothing was broken, and the swelling is apparently just 'soft tissue damage'.

    I will not be put off cycling by this (my first ever accident of any note) but I am a little concerned about getting used to the new brakes. Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated. The bike appears to be, in all other respects well fitted to my body/reach/legs etc, I just am not used to the drop bar set up.

    By the way, I am seizing up by the minute, goodness knows how I will feel overnight and in the morning :evil: I don't know what hurts more, the arm or the leg, and the ribs still throb.
  2. gaz

    gaz Cycle Camera TV

    South Croydon
    I'm pleased to hear you came off ok from what must have been terrifying.

    Where you on the hoods when you tried to brake? you don't get as much power from the hoods as you do from the drops. But you should be able to stop the bike pretty quickly from the drops. It all takes practise and getting used to.
  3. Gerry Attrick

    Gerry Attrick Lincolnshire Mountain Rescue Consultant

    Bad luck. We all bite the dust on occasion. Glad you're not badly hurt though.

    Try changing your brake blocks for Kool Stop salmons. They are a very soft compound and do not need the pressure at the levers that harder stuff requires. Check also that your cables run smoothly. It may help if you adjust the brakes so that they don't bite immediately on first movement of the lever. i.e. move the blocks slightly further from the rims. If you do this, just make sure the pad/rim clearances are not excessive otherwise you will squeeze the levers to the bars before maximum braking effect is reached.
  4. OP

    rayw1604 Senior Member

    Cheltenham, Glos
    Yes, I was on the hoods, but another thing I am not used to is staying on the drops - down on the drops on a steep descent seems a bit terrifying in itself, plus my lower body position doesn't feel natural. I will have to persevere with that option.
  5. Rip Van

    Rip Van Active Member

    Ooyah! Every time I hear a tale like this I get a bit more frightened and a bit more cautious. I'll soon be going round bends so slow that the bike'll just fall over.:biggrin:
  6. Gerry Attrick

    Gerry Attrick Lincolnshire Mountain Rescue Consultant

    As Gaz said, it really is a matter of getting accustomed to the new position. You will feel too stretched and too low on the drops for a few days, but providing your bike fits you, the position will feel totally natural eventually.
  7. ASC1951

    ASC1951 Guru

    I had my first Off of the year yesterday.

    Out on my fixed wheel in the first rain for a month and turning left in Skipton at a gentle 10 mph. Lost the front wheel on a wet manhole cover and went down in a big heap in front of the chip shop queue. Serves me right for not concentrating. :laugh:
  8. PpPete

    PpPete Guru

    Chandler's Ford
    Definitely - the drops are the place to be for any significant downhill.
    I know what you mean about not natural though. I find getting my arse slightly off the saddle helps.

    Hope the bruises & grazes heal soon.
  9. LizardEye

    LizardEye Well-Known Member

    It might be worth angling the bars very slightly up towards you, so the levers aren't quite so far forward and a bit easier to reach from the hoods. Even a very slight tilt will make a difference.

    I'm not convinced that brake levers, and gear changers are particularly well designed. To have the brakes, which are the most important kit on your bike, only acessible from one position on the bars when your hands might be in any one of three or four different places, doesn't strike me as particularly sensible.
  10. Globalti

    Globalti Legendary Member

    Bad luck! Thankfully the bike wasn't badly damaged. Rest and Neurofen are what you need.

    The softer brake pads will help, also how new are your rims? Brand new rims might not grip as well as when they are slightly worn. I can brake with hands on the hoods even fast on a pretty steep hill.
  11. Barbelier

    Barbelier Senior Member

    Really sorry to hear about your accident. Must have be very frightening.
    How are you feeling now?

    I recently switched from a MTB to a tourer and had the same feeling of exhilaration from the increased speed. However, I came off a couple of times on ice over the winter, fortunately at low speed. Shook me up a bit and now I'm very cautious on the downhill stretches (in fact I'm probably faster going up hill ;)). At my age and weight any tumble is gonna be painfull and messy!

    Have disc brakes fitted to my Country Explorer, which I upgraded to Avid BB7s and they really give a lot of stopping power.
  12. e-rider

    e-rider crappy member

    South West
    I'm not so sure that this is a case of needing to get 'used' to them.

    Sounds more like your brakes are not working as well as they should be.


    1. De-greasing the rim and brake blocks (when new bikes are assembled grease and oil can easily get on the rims)

    2. check for correct adjustment (eg. blocks meet the rim correctly; and cable tension is correct)

    3. 'wear' the brakes in properly from new. Pads straight out of the packet never work that well to start with and require a certain amount of 'bedding-in'.

    4. perhaps the bike just has poor brakes; consider up-grading to a high quality top of the range set (only calipers, but perhaps levers too if you have cheap ones)
  13. OP

    rayw1604 Senior Member

    Cheltenham, Glos
    Thanks for all the commiserations and comments. I'm not at all qualified to comment on the quality of the brakes, I have to admit that I've always learned about maintenance and the tech specs on a 'need to know' basis - and I will certainly take Tundragumski's thoughts on board - but for what it's worth, the brakes are Tektro 356 Dual Pivot, and the brake levers are Shimano Sora STI. The rims are new as is the whole bike. I have to say that the brakes seem a long way off the bars for my smaller than average hands (and I can't see the angle of the bars making that much difference, but I'll certainly try it) and I was wondering if any changes for the better could be made to them e.g. levers that are closer, auxiliary levers that are fitted to the top part of the handlebar, whatever - I'm probably demonstrating laughable ignorance now, but this is why I read this forum avidly every day, as I know that there is a lot of wisdom to be garnered here.

    As for me, well, I am suffering three types of pain at the moment :blush: :B) :ohmy: - in my grazed arm (all seeping through, looks wonderful to those who may doubt me), in my left ribcage (no coughing or sneezing allowed), and the mini-melon that is my fast-discolouring thigh.

    But you won't be surprised to know that I went and hauled the bike out of the shed this morning to really check it over :biggrin: and it seems to have escaped unscathed.
  14. e-rider

    e-rider crappy member

    South West
    As a general comment (because I've never used them) Tektro brakes are usually cheap and fairly low quality - not a brand I'd recommend.

    I've got Shimano 105 calipers and levers (mid range price) and have no trouble stopping very quickly (I'm heavy too).
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